Minds of concern

How secure are NGO's Internet server?


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DE Germany
Web http://krcf.org/


About the project Edit

Contrary to most "activist + artistic" projects that target private corporations and public institutions, in "Minds of concern", Knowbotic Research, a German-Swiss electronic art group, started virtual network scans which investigated the security conditions on NGOs and artistic media activists' Internet servers. These scans sensed whether the targeted server was secure or open to hacker attacks.

This project consisted of a gallery installation, a Web interface (called Public Domain Scanner) and a free downloadable news ticker. Through the Web interface (the Public Domain Scanner), visitors could select «Minds of Concern» groups, movements, or NGOs like Oxfam, the Freedom from Debt Coalition and COSATU that are engaged in critical global activities in the networked society. This list also included artistic media activists and international media artists. Through a virtual slot machine (part of the Public Domain Scanner), visitors could "win" one of the NGOs or artists as a target (mind of concern), and could trigger network scans which would investigate the security conditions on the target's Internet server.

In what ways is this project unique and creative? Edit

Knowbotic Research work was an intended art project. The results of these scans, the risk factors of the servers, were made available in an exhibition in 2002 in the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, visually depicting the strength or vulnerability of a server to people worldwide.

What is the social value of this project? Edit

The ultimate goal of the project was to emphasize the paradox that NGOs and media activists face when they must apply security measures to protect their own activities against potential hacking and intrusion. Knowbotic Research's intent was to launch a public debate on the contradictions between security and public domain. Oddly enough, the Internet Access provider threatened to disconnect Minds of Concern, resulting in the Museum blocking the program, hence the exhibition itself. It is a striking example of Life imitating Art.

What is the potential of this project to expand and develop? Edit

Knowbotic is a coinage that combined “knowledge” with “robot”, meaning intellectual agent on the Internet. This art group, established in 1991 by Yvonne Wilhelm, Christian Hübler and Alexander Tuchacek, has developed some projects themed on an information environment and a computer interface. They have developed other projects, in the same spirit as Minds of Concern, that try to intervene in the (physical or digital) public domain.

What was the triggering factor of this project? Edit

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